When I missed my plane four years ago I was devastated enough to burst into tears at Gate 6A. My mom had passed away a few months earlier and I was visiting my brother who had just become a dad. My emotions were three injured bison trapped in an elevator.
The next flight home was seven hours later and all I wanted was to be home. To be surrounded by my things and the little knickknacks that proved my mom’s life in my house…little things that seemed to disappear with every day that passed.
At that point I had been an academic for about 4 years and while I don’t want to blame academia for all my troubles in life, it had stolen my love of reading. When you have to read every moment of every day, you don’t rush home to read. You rush home to watch Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion. No offense intended, I love that movie…
As the long airport-wait began, I decided to wander around to foil feelings of frustration and grief. And so it happened that I wandered into an airport bookshop. I wasn’t looking for anything specific. Well, that’s a lie. I was looking for something with pretty pictures and scandal. So I headed for the magazine shelves, but as I passed the biography section my eye caught a title on a spine: On writing.
I have no idea why I was drawn to this particular title, but I was. Meaning to just read the blurb, I took it from the shelf. Disappointment, it was written by Stephen King. I’d never read him before but he was that horror, scifi guy, right?
[It would be easy to judge me harshly for not every having read Stephen King. But…you know what, now that I have read every single one of his books, go ahead and harshly judge me, I was a tool…]
Like I was pulled by an invisible hand, I bought this book and started reading it in a corner of the airport near Gate 6C, with a tasteless coffee in hand and a bag of soft candy in my lap. There, by Gate 6C, I fell in love. With reading. With stories. And maybe a little with Stephen King.
The seven hours went by in about 27 minutes. By the time I landed at home the book was done but I wasn’t. I felt…dare I say it…happy. I had forgotten how reading can make you feel…different. Research has pretty much shown us that reading is good for the mind, but goodness, it is also good for the heart.
In the last four years I have inhaled anything to do with Sir King. Fortunately for all humanity, he publishes like a machine. And every time he does, I prepare for our date. I buy the book, get comfy, and meet my storyteller in an unknown space and time to be frightened and surprised and glad, but most important, to escape the monotony of everyday life.
Now if you will excuse me, this new book is not going to read itself…